For years I’ve had big dreams of being a fancy home baker.
You know, channeling my inner Julia Child or The Barefoot Contessa (she’s in there somewhere).
But really, it hasn’t quite happened.
Achieving the consistent and beautiful results my baking heart desires is taking more work than I thought it would!
Sometimes, after a few baking faux pas, I turn back to my favorite recipes, the ones I’ve made for years and years. These recipes are a bit simpler than what I’m currently trying to master.
It’s the simple things, like this easy coffee cake recipe, that bring comfort in a way trying to master a genoise cake with a glass chocolate glaze never will.
Part of the reason this recipe is so easy is there are only a few ingredients in it: bisquick, milk, egg, brown sugar, butter, white sugar and cinnamon.
That’s it. Easy peasy.
It used to be on the side of the Bisquick box when I was growing up, but it disappeared years ago, and it hasn’t come back since (I’ve looked). Over the years, the base recipe stays the same, but I change up the streusel on top.
Added bonus: you only need one bowl for this recipe.
I make the cake portion in a large mixing bowl. I empty that into my 8×8 square (or equivalent-ish round) glass baking dish that I’ve sprayed my nonstick spray into.
Then, without rinsing it out, I go ahead and make the streusel in the same bowl.
This recipe is easy and it’s fast! It’s a great go-to for company coming over or for last minute brunch or breakfast guests.
Secrets of Great Streusel
If you’ve made coffeecakes before, you probably know the secret of getting that crumbly streusel.
- Keep the butter cold
- Cut the butter into chunks
- Don’t overmix the streusel
I use a pastry cutter to make my streusel, but a knife works well. In a pinch, I’ve used my fingers.
Note: I tend to go overboard with the streusel. This coffee cake is dry, and the streusel gives it a delightful kick. And because I come from a topping-loving family, I would make more streusel than the recipe called for.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling a bit adventurous, I’ll add in a bit of nutmeg or allspice for added flavor. If you do this, keep the extra spices to about ¼ tsp each.
You can never have too much streusel.
After I make the streusel, I pour half of it over the cake. Then, I take a knife and make crisscross swipes through the batter. The goal is for the streusel to drop into the cake and not just stay on top. This adds to the delight of eating it!
After I’ve ‘forced’ the streusel to sink into the batter, I pour the rest of the streusel on top. I may use the knife to move it around just a little more.
Don’t overbake this recipe! Otherwise it does get a little dry.
It saves well for 3 days IF it lasts that long! Be sure to wrap it tightly in saran wrap.
For the cake:
2 cups bisquick
1 TB sugar
2/3 cup milk
For the streusel:
2/3 cup brown sugar (I use more about 1 cup)
1/3 cup bisquick (I add about a 1/2 cup)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup butter, cut into chunks
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the bisquick and sugar. Add the eggs and milk.
Mix until blended.
Spray a non-stick spray into an 8×8 square or equivalent round dish. It looks quite pretty in a circular round dish, if you have one.
Pour the batter into the dish.
In the same bowl, prepare the streusel. Add the brown sugar, bisquick, butter and cinnamon together. Mix them into a coarse blend. It should be quite chunky.
Pour half of the streusel on top of the batter. Use a knife and make crisscross cuts into the cake. Some of the streusel will drop into the batter.
Pour the rest of the streusel over the cake. Spread out gently if desired.
Bake for twenty-five minutes.
Check ‘done-ness’ with a butter knife. It should come out clean in the middle.
Note: if the knife gets stuck in a chunk of streusel, it may come out looking wet or dough-y. Be aware of that and check in another place if needed.
Best served warm with coffee or tea!